David Gentry: The team manager that was also a Product Owner, a Product Owner role Anti-Pattern

This week we share simple, yet effective Product Owner patterns and discuss the anti-pattern that can emerge when the PO is also the team manager.

The Great Product Owner: simple patterns with a great impact

Great Product Owners have a strong identification with the product. They can say “no” to certain ideas, but above all, they see themselves as much more than owners of a list we call Product Backlog. 

These are just some of the good patterns great Product Owners exhibit, but there are more. Listen in to find out what are the other good patterns David has found in highly effective Product Owners. 

The Bad Product Owner: The Product Owner that was also the team manager

Many of the Product Owner anti-patterns come from the role they play in the organization. In this segment, we talk about the Product Owner that was also a team manager, and how those two roles can become a source for problems when they are held by the same person.

In this segment, we refer to Product Mastery, by Geoff Watts. Geoff has been on the podcast before to talk about great Scrum Masters and Product Owners. We also refer to the book by Bob Galen: Scrum Product Ownership: Balancing Value from the Inside Out.

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About David Gentry

David Gentry is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. He has served in a variety of other roles in his career including developer, data analyst, business analyst, quality analyst, and project manager. In his free time, he can be found playing bass guitar and interpreting how groove applies to life and agility. 

You can link with David Gentry on LinkedIn and connect with David Gentry on Twitter.

Long Suciu: setting clear goals, a trait Great Product Owners share

This week we talk about the dictator Product Owner and the Product Owner that enables his team by helping them set clear and understandable goals.

The Product Owner Anti-pattern for the week: The mistrusting dictator anti-pattern

Trust between the Product Owner and the team is critical. When there’s a lack of trust, the PO is tempted to control instead of listening to the team. As Scrum Masters, we must look out for the signs that there’s no trust between PO and team, and act on it.

The Great PO pattern for the week: Focusing on clear and understandable goals

There are many things that great Product Owners do, but one of the most relevant is to set clear, and understandable goals for the team. In Great Product Owner segment, we talk about goals and collaboration. We also talk about how Great Product Owners distribute decisions to the team and rely on the team to help them in their work.

 

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Long Suciu

Long is driven by a passion to help people unlock their potential and discover their own capacities. He has spent the past 20 years helping teams and organizations find and put in place better ways of working.

You can link with Long Suciu on LinkedIn.

Katy Cabral & Joseph Contreras: How to foster collaboration between the Scrum team and Product Owner

This week, the discussion about the Product Owner role is all about collaboration with the team.

The Product Owner pattern for the week

With two guests this week, we also cover 2 examples of a good Product Owner. Firstly, we talk about the importance of bringing information and data to the team to help them understand and be part of the decision making for the product.

Secondly, we talk about the need for Product Owners to allow the team to give their input, and be heard when it comes to product decisions. Great Product Owners allow their teams to contribute their own ideas and therefore feel invested in the success of the product.

The Product Owner anti-pattern for the week

The two anti-patterns we discuss this week are related to the collaboration (or lack thereof) between the team and Product Owner.

The first anti-pattern is about the Product Owner that was an outside “customer” (from another department) to the team. When that happens, there’s the temptation to let the PO lead, and not challenge them. Collaboration happens when the PO brings their view, listens, and then makes decisions together with the team.

The second anti-pattern is about the Product Owner as an expert. When the PO is an expert, they might feel they have to bring in all the answers, and therefore make it more difficult for the team to feel ownership and contribute to the product. It can also happen that the PO becomes a micro-manager. All signs to look out for.

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

 

About Katy Cabral & Joseph Contreras

Katy has over 14 years of software delivery experience, serving in roles ranging from analyst to developer, project manager and for more than 6 years, also Scrum Master. Her Scrum experience has been mostly with distributed teams working across multiple time zones. She hopes to someday have the opportunity to travel to meet her colleagues in China, but for now, Katy enjoys reading about creative methods to keep her team engaged.

You can link with Katy Cabral on LinkedIn.

Joe is an experienced scrum master, who strives each day to help and coach his squad to continuously improve how they work so that they can be awesome.

Joe is also a scrum master chapter lead at Fidelity Investments.

You can link with Joseph Contreras on LinkedIn.

Nick Vitsinsky on how PO’s can prepare for meetings with the team

We explore the technical-dictator Product Owner anti-pattern and also talk about how great Product Owners get ready and come prepared for the meetings with the teams.

The Product Owner pattern for the week

When Product Owners come prepared to the meeting, you know they are doing their job well. They bring numbers, the rationale behind certain decisions, maybe even different options for priority to be chosen based on the feedback from the team. In this episode, we refer to the work by Jeff Patton and Jeff Gothelf, who’ve both been on the podcast before. You can find Jeff Patton’s Podcast episode here. You can find Jeff Gothelf’s podcast episode here.

The Product Owner anti-pattern for the week

Many Product Owners come from a technical background. This means that they know a lot about the technical aspects the team needs to consider. However, when the PO starts to question the team’s estimates or decisions, that’s a recipe for failure. Listen to how Nick handles that situation, and get some tools and practices you can apply right away!

 

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Nick Vitsinsky

Nick as more than 10 years in IT started from QA Engineer/Waterfall after two years realized that there should be a different approach to how to develop and ship the software. His philosophy and mindset is: “find out Agile and make it own moto”. He focuses on that on a daily basis.

You can link with Nick Vitsinsky on LinkedIn and connect with Nick Vitsinsky on Twitter.

Mili Shrivastava: When Product Owners can have multiple roles

We explore the absent Product Owner anti-pattern and discuss a case when it was OK to have the Product Owner also play the role of a developer in the team.

The Product Owner pattern for the week

We often hear that the Product Owner cannot be a developer at the same time. However, in some cases, that’s not a problem. In this episode, we talk about the Product Owner that was also a developer, and what made that PO a great PO despite the dual role.

The Product Owner anti-pattern for the week

When the Product Owner is too busy, the team suffers. In this episode, we talk about the anti-pattern of the absent Product Owner, and how Scrum Masters can help the team and the Product Owner in that situation.

 

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Mili Shrivastava

Mili has more than 12 years of experience in the software industry. Loves to spend time with her family and is a big fan of outdoor activities like hiking and biking.

You can link with Mili Shrivastava on LinkedIn and connect with Mili Shrivastava on Twitter.

Jassy (Jan-Simon Wurst): How to help the PO feel “ownership” of the product

We explore the Product Owner anti-pattern of using the Scrum Master as a secretary, and the pattern of a PO that feels the ownership of the product

The Product Owner pattern for the week

The relationship between Scrum Master and Product Owner is absolutely critical for the success of the team. When the PO treats the Scrum Master like a helper, rather than a collaborator lots of things go wrong. We also discuss why this anti-pattern happens, and how to prevent / overcome it.

The Product Owner anti-pattern for the week

The Product Owner title tries to guide to a person in that role to “own” the product. To feel the responsibility and ownership of the product to a level that helps them identify with the product and customers. The goal: to have a PO that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible.

In this episode, we discuss how we can help PO’s feel that ownership.

 

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Jassy (Jan-Simon Wurst)

Jassy moved from developer to being a Scrum Master and then a freelancer. He calls himself:  the person to contact for help in On-Boardings, as well as a friend of bottom-up, power to the people! No top-down, no micro-management. No despotism in agile software development.

You can link with Jassy (Jan-Simon Wurst) on LinkedIn, or XING and connect with Jassy (Jan-Simon Wurst) on Twitter.

Jeremy Willets: The product owner that was the team manager

As usual on the Friday’s episodes, we explore Product Owner patterns and anti-patterns to help you work effectively with the Product Owner.

The Product Owner pattern for the week

This Product Owner was the manager for the team, but despite that, he was an effective PO. Listen in to learn how this PO stepped back to help the team contribute, and how he separated his PO responsibilities from his management responsibilities.

The Product Owner anti-pattern for the week

Product Owner’s personalities can have a big impact on the relationship with the team. In this episode, we explore what happens when the PO is self-centered and egotistical. We discuss the symptoms that indicate this anti-pattern and some of the things you may want to do as a Scrum Master to help the PO and team collaborate.

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

 

About Jeremy Willets

Jeremy Willets is a Technical Writer turned Scrum Master/Agile Coach. He’s passionate about bringing Agile to all facets of his organization. He enjoys spending time with his family, making music, and drinking the finest craft beer the world has to offer!

You can link with Jeremy Willets on LinkedIn and connect with Jeremy Willets on Twitter.

How metrics, used right, can drive learning in your organization: Measure to learn – The Bungsu metrics code

This is a guest post by Marcus Hammarberg, author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story, How Lean and Kanban saved a small hospital in Indonesia. Twice. And can help you reshape work in your company. (available on Amazon)

This is the fourth and last post on a series by Marcus Hammarberg about how metrics can help engage, motivate and ultimately push a team towards success! (See other blog posts in this series here)

When we first started to work with the Bungsu hospital they were in a devasting situation.

Fast forward 1,5 years and you would see a hospital that was making money every day.

In the end, we turned the hospital from a situation where only the director and her closest staff cared, to a situation where 100 people in the hospital were actively engaged in everyday improvements.

How is this possible? What kind of magic was applied?

Visualizing the right metric

Each morning we showed the result and it was good we had loud cheering among the staff. But for bad days it was mostly silence, head hung low.

I also noticed that the lady that was in charge of gathering the numbers, Ibu Elly (Mrs Elly) the directory secretary, behaved a bit different for days with bad numbers. She was almost reluctant to present them and quickly went over the whole thing.

We had talked about what we wanted to learn about the numbers and I had written “KENAPA” (WHY) beneath the graph. Because I wanted us to learn from the metric we were collecting and visualizing every day.

For example on this graph – can you see something that stands out?

 

See those regular dips? If you asked “KENAPA” and counted the dates, you could probably figure out that those dips are Sundays… People don’t go to a hospital, as much, on Sundays.

“KENAPA” – what can we learn? Well, we could (and did) try to be more open on Sundays, but pretty soon realized that it would be very costly to keep more staff around and that it was a cultural thing keeping people back.

Until that point, most of the management team understood the KENAPA-question, but it made Ibu Elly feel ashamed for bad days. That troubled me, until one day when she was bustling with joy. We had made an excellent result yesterday: 138 patients served in one day. The first time, above our goal of 134 patients.

As she entered the numbers and headed back to her seat I asked… “Kenapa, Ibu?”

She stopped in her step and turned around with a puzzled look. “No, you don’t understand. It was a good result, sir.”

I did understand that it was a good result but I pressed on. “I know, but why was it good”.

Poor Ibu Elly looked around for support and then back to me with an even more puzzled look. “Well… in the polyclinic, we had 32 patients, and then for the ER we had 12 patients and …” I interrupted her gently.

“I understand all of that. You are showing me the math. But why was it good yesterday?”. At this point, she gave up and just said “I don’t understand” and took her seat.

I felt bad for her but we had an important learning point here, so I pressed the others. “Anyone else knows why it was good yesterday? Kenapa?”.

After a few moments of hesitation, someone offered “Well, yesterday we had three doctors in the polyclinic, rather than our usual two. Dr Paula did an extra day for us.”

“AHA!” I exclaimed, a bit too loud if I’m honest… “So what can we learn?”

We eventually concluded that more doctors probably means more patients. At least that was a hypothesis we could use to run an experiment.

More importantly, with the visualized data and by continuously focusing on learning we found that knowledge nugget. We now had understood the value of asking “WHY” the data behaves as it behaves. And from this point on we viewed the graph differently – it was now a source of learning, regardless of the result.

There’s a lot more to talk about metrics, and how simple practices can transform your organization. The book shares a lot about that, of course, but here’s a podcast episode where I talk with Vasco about the same practices.

Do you need the one metric that matters to engage your team? This booklet is for you!

In the Bungsu’s Pirate Code for Visualization downloadable booklet I will go into details on how we made this “one metric that matters” engaging, kept it relevant and ultimately saved the hospital by keeping our focus there – using what we referred to as the Bungsu Pirate Code. Click here to download your guide to using the “one metric that matters” in your own team.

This is a very actionable tool that you can you use today in your organization to make your visualizations matter to everyone all the time.

The Bungsu Story is a fascinating account of a real-life crisis, and how Agile, Lean and Kanban saved the Hospital from bankruptcy! Twice! Get ready for the journey, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

About Marcus Hammarberg

Marcus is the author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story (available on Amazon), an inspiring and actionable story about how simple tools can help transform the productivity and impact of an organization. The real-life stories in The Bungsu can help you transform the productivity of your team. Marcus is also an renowned author and consultant in the Kanban community, he authored the book Kanban in Action with Joakim Sundén.
You can link with Marcus Hammarberg on LinkedIn, and connect with Marcus Hammarberg on twitter.

Catrine Björkegren: the “my product is the most important” anti-pattern in the Product Owner role

In this episode, we introduce a new set of questions. Two questions that help us understand some of the most common anti-patterns in the Product Owner role as well what great Product Owners look like.

In this episode, we talk about a Product Owner anti-pattern related to the PO’s relationship with other PO’s in the organization. We discuss the “my Product is the most important” anti-pattern!

The Great Product Owner: When a Product Owner is able to bring in the business perspective and trust the team to find out what’s the best possible technical solution.

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.  

About Catrine Björkegren

Agile coach and scrum master, Catrine has worked with agile for a decade in various areas like education, nuclear waste, government agencies, pharmaceutical and at the Royal Swedish Opera.

She believes that co-location is the key to building teams and that leadership is the key to successful agile transformation.

You can link with Catrine Björkegren on LinkedIn and connect with Catrine Björkegren on Twitter.

Kristopher Stice-Hall: The Self-Absorbed Product Owner Anti-pattern

This week we start a new Friday question. We explore examples of Product Owner anti-patterns as well as great product owner practices and examples.

Kristopher shares a story of how a Product Owner’s personality can derail a team, and sometimes, even an organization.

We end the week by talking about examples of practices that a good Product Owner can have, and how to help the Product Owner take on those practices.

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Kristopher Stice-Hall

Is the co-owner of Digital Maelstrom, a consultancy specializing in custom software, DevOps, managed cloud services, and information security. He has been doing Scrum Master work for over 10 years. He has worked with fortune 500 companies to companies less than 15 people. He also has been doing software development for 17 years.

You can link with Kristopher Stice-Hall on LinkedIn and connect with Kristopher Stice-Hall on Twitter.